A study conducted at Harvard Business School found that a daily 15-minute habit can increase your productivity and effectiveness. The daily habit is as simple as they come—making time every day for reflection will help boost your leadership.
There are at least three different ways you can practice daily self-reflection:
1. Shut everything out and sit down for a time of quiet contemplation. In my work as an executive leadership coach, I try to introduce some kind of meditation into each of my clients’ routines. I’ve seen the benefits of meditation firsthand: it can help you settle down after a long day, it can make you sharper and smarter, and it can counteract the information overload that’s become part of everyday life. When truly successful individuals begin to meditate, they become even more productive and creative leaders.
Research on mindfulness suggests that meditation sharpens skills like attention, memory and emotional intelligence. That’s a great return on an investment of just 15 minutes a day. And if you’re thinking you already have too much on your plate and don’t need yet another thing to do, rethink that proposition. After all, meditation is literally the act of doing nothing.
2. You can write down your day. Journaling for 15 minutes at the end of the day has always been a useful tool for keeping track of your activities and thoughts. The act of writing things down helps you understand them more clearly and keep a clear perspective. The simple process of committing your thoughts and ideas to paper pays great dividends and gives you a clear articulation of your thinking. And science is finding that the act of writing accesses your analytic and rational left brain, freeing your right brain to create and intuit. Writing unlocks all kinds of capabilities and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
Successful leaders throughout history have kept journals. Presidents have maintained them for posterity; other famous figures keep them for their own purposes. The 19th-century playwright Oscar Wilde said, “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.”
3. You can summarize your thoughts and rehearse your actions. Taking the time to think things through engages you in a self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-correcting process. It allows you to think clearly and rationally and solve problems systematically, boosting the critical thinking skills that have become so important in the new knowledge economy. Mentally summarize the events of the day, think about the actions you want to take tomorrow and rehearse them in your head in a way that gives you the best outcome.
Whichever method you choose, this 15 minutes is likely to become the most important part of your day. With just 15 minutes of reflection a day, you can boost your career, your productivity and your effectiveness. Try it and see how it changes your life.
Lead From Within: From quiet self-reflection will come even more effective action.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.